Full STEAM Ahead - Carolina Country

Full STEAM Ahead

Playtime nourishes future careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

By Statepoint.net

Full STEAM Ahead

What if your family’s playtime was not just fun, but a pathway to future success? In a recent survey of parents conducted by OnePoll, 87% of respondents said the skills they learned while playing as a child helped them achieve success in their adult careers.

The study was commissioned by The Genius of Play, an online hub of expert-based resources for families. Skills the respondents named included creativity, teamwork, problem-solving, empathy and communication, all of which are highly valued across many different industries and careers.

For example, when it comes to careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM), the ability to solve complex problems and think outside the box are key to driving innovation. That’s where enriching playtime comes in.

“Play driven by curiosity and wonder presents endless possibilities for STEAM learning,” says Anna Yudina, senior director of marketing initiatives at The Toy Association, which spearheads The Genius of Play. “While many STEAM concepts may seem intimidating and lack real-world relevance when taught in a formal classroom environment, play gives kids an opportunity to engage in free, hands-on, child-led exploration, igniting their natural curiosity and fueling innovative thinking they’ll need in future careers.”

To combine fun with learning and practical skill-building, consider these playtime ideas:

Build a car

Find and use materials at home to create a car. For example, an empty juice carton can be turned into the car’s body, and a spool of thread can serve as wheels and an axle. Work together as a team to make the car move. Slide it down an incline, push it by hand or attach a balloon and use air as a propellant. Design additional cars to see which goes fastest or farthest.

Make colorful bubbles

In a container, combine 1½ cups of hot water, ¼ cup of light corn syrup, ¼ cup of dish soap and washable paint and fill a glass jar half full. Make a wand out of a pipe cleaner. Explore how different shape wands change the shape of the bubbles. Or blow bubbles through a plastic drinking cup. Punch a small hole in the bottom to blow through and dip the wide, open end into the solution. Then make the hole larger and blow, to see the difference.

Experiment with cabbage colors

Cabbage has tubes called xylem that allow water to be pulled up into their leaves, and you can watch this phenomenon in action. Slice each cabbage at the stalk and place it in a jar of dyed water (made with food coloring). Watch the cabbage change color from the bottom up. Take notes. What do you observe after one hour, one day, and one week?

Learn more

Through play, you can develop your child’s drive to explore, inquire and investigate, setting them on a journey to career success in the future. For more ideas that encourage children to build lifelong skills, visit thegeniusofplay.org.

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